Michael J. Black elected to Germany’s National Academy of Sciences
Amazon Scholar works within Amazon’s Tübingen, Germany research center.
Michael J. Black, director at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) and an Amazon Scholar, has been elected to Germany’s National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Leopoldina was established in 1652 to study societal issues from a scientific perspective, and is one of the oldest science academies in the world.
Leopoldina currently has more than 1,600 members from 30 countries. Members include scientists from the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences and the engineering sciences with a sustained track record of academic excellence. Leopoldina is led by a presidium appointed by the German Senate. The presidium is responsible for electing members. As a member, Black will play an active role in developing studies that help inform scientific policy that impacts society in addition to representing the Leopoldina at events around the world.
“As an American scientist in Germany, I am honored to become a member of Leopoldina,” Black said. “Germany has been good to me and I am always looking for ways to give back. The academy offers me another avenue to contribute my expertise to benefit society.”
As an American scientist in Germany, I am honored to become a member of Leopoldina.
Over the past decade, Black has done groundbreaking research in the field of computer vision. His work has focused on developing 3D body models to support various applications. These include developing photorealistic avatars for gaming, medical engineering, body imaging, robotics, and more.
Examples of Black’s recent research includes the development of expressive 3D human avatars and methods that estimate body shape and motion from images and videos. For example, Crowdshaping Realistic 3D Avatars with Words proposes a computer-implemented method for indexing a database of human body shapes by processing a mapping between the geometric body space and a linguistic body space.
Black is also a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Over the past two decades, his work has had a profound impact on computer vision research. Black is the only researcher to have won “Test of Time” awards from the European Conference on Computer Vision (awarded in 2010), the International Conference on Computer Vision (2013), and the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (2020). In addition, Black has been recognized with the IEEE Computer Society Outstanding Paper Award (CVPR’91) and has received an Honorable Mention for the Marr Prize in 1999 and 2005.
Black joined Amazon as a distinguished scholar in October 2017. Black’s work with Amazon occurs within its research center in Tübingen, Germany, where he works with other Amazon scholars, like Thomas Brox, Bernt Schiele, and Bernhard Schölkopf.